As an atypical woman who resembles a free bird when it comes to most aspects of our lives, I am a typical woman when it comes to thinking about marriages. So in the last case, much like these birds who force suitors to build nests before deciding on a mate, I met a man (German) who did. He did it 17 years ago for another woman; she did not like it, so his bowerbird flew off to another man. I felt sorry for him, but also had a certain fascination for his personality and demeanour. A few days after our first chance meeting, I went on my first date with him. Oh, it was a perfect date. So I will tell you a few more circumstances.
The year: last year. The season: summer. The continent: North America. The setting: a riverbank. The city: Philadelphia. So… I got off my bus from Washington to Phili and there he was — a man you fall in love with. Blond hair, slender and only 6 years older than me, and he likes to read. The one! But what if he was looking for an adventure? As a girl who grew up in a traditional family, I knew the dating tips for ladies very well. First, you should be on your guard. Secondly, you should let him pay and order for you. So it is he who takes away the woman's guilt and shame if she orders too much or too little. If I order too much, I might make him think that I would look like a pig in the future, and if I only take a salad, I might make him think that I would look like an anorexic in the future.
Before I got off, I freshened up, combed my hair and applied my light make-up. No, he did not kiss me. Instead, he helped me with my bag while we toured the city together. Then, we went to a restaurant and then he took me to the riverside. At that moment, he was something special: a good friend and a gentleman. The date was perfect, and the scenery was beautiful (both in the restaurant and on the riverbank). So the next step was to get the phone from him. And that was the next step – a beautiful message in which he shows he cares. Then you start thinking about him. You know the perfect solution to start and end each day with him - a marriage. You think about your happy life with him until the end of the world. No wonder, as our culture is full of such romantic love stories with such a happy ending as well as full of mentioned before romantic phrases. What is more, the culture compares male and female relationships even to heaven. So we long for love. We want to feel happy and we want other people to care about us and admire us. We do a lot to achieve this. To put it bluntly, we buy love or our magical thinking about it. The best illustration of this is the short story Chaser by John Collier.
It begins as follows: The protagonist Alan, a young man, comes to an old salesman who sells drugs that make falling in love possible. The young man buys them in response to his fascination with a girl who does not feel the same. As the salesman promises, after taking the pill, she will be completely engaged and never let him go. Alan hopes to manipulate her. In fact, when Alan bought drugs, he was not aware of the negative consequences of such a deep engagement with the woman of his dreams. Perhaps he bought the drugs for his prison? But the seller had a better understanding of people's emotional desires, and in his offer were also drugs that could cleanse our lives, because as he says, sometimes our lives need cleansing. He was more mature and practical in terms of understanding love. He stood up for our culture.
In fact, full of romantic stories and flowery expressions about love, our culture is very practical when it comes to marriage. It allows us to find the right one to share life with, not the most special one. That's because marriage in our culture is perceived as an institution that has goals: Paying rent, sharing responsibilities and showing other such institutions that ours works well or even better. Divorce is nothing more than asking society to look down on you or bail you out because you did not do enough research before you got married. This is the reality we live in. No one makes ridicules its existence. No one is ridiculing the magic of love. What's more, love is also scientifically fixed.
According to Hume, we desire love because our minds tell us that love is a moral feeling. According to Plato we should find the answer to what is meant by love. But wait a minute, our culture has defined it, as I proved. So in our culture, love means power – no footnotes. In fact, there should be a footnote: love is a power to give a new life and the power to destroy your life. So knowing it, why do we long for marriage? As I have said before, because it is the reality we live in, even if it is a cave. Sartre used to say that this is the condition in which we live in. There is no escape! No panic! The institution of marriage has changed considerably over the centuries. It seemed to be disenchanted. But is it? Most couples still fake their happiness until their children are married. That's why there are so many fakes in our marriages or even marriages of convenience. It's because we start lying at the very beginning of a relationship. To prove this, just take a look at some questionnaires on popular dating websites:
1. Important to me
2. Very important to me
3. Not important to me
4. Not very important to me.
How is it possible that most of us would choose 3 or 4, since in our culture looks are the most important thing? So are we blind? No, most of us are lying. And the next question we tend to lie about is: I tend to think... Hmm, outside the box? No, of course it is not the correct answer to find a perfect match. So what is a good answer? Inside the box? Of course not. So? The right answer is: I tend to see the glass as half full! Correct answer. You have a perfect match. So happy marriage!
Why did not I marry that guy from Germany? Well, maybe I idealized him too much… or maybe I tend to think outside the box also in terms of marriages? So it was my tale from the heart, without a happy ending. But it could be worse.
Just remember, it's not non-fiction.